211 phone service to launch in Merced

Residents in Merced and Mariposa counties will have access to a database of human service resources by simply dialing 211. The program is scheduled to launch in October. Assistance through 211 will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in 150 languages.


App review: ChoreMonster, handy tool makes chores fun for kids

Parents need to know that ChoreMonster uses silly (and a bit obnoxious) monsters to motivate and reward kids for doing chores. The mobile app integrates with the website or can be used alone. Parents will need to invest some thought and time into setting up accounts for themselves and each child, and then set up chores and rewards. When kids log on, they'll see how many chores they have to complete that day and then check them off with a thumbs-up once they've completed them. Parents then receive an email or push notification to approve the chore. Parents and multiple kids can work from the same device. In addition to working toward goals they set, kids are also rewarded for each chore they complete with a spin at the Monster Carnival. They can win a monster to add to their virtual collection or laugh at their silly consolation prize (like a rotten potato or bag of hammers).


Ask Mr. Dad: Give up the guilt over baby son's fall

Dear Mr. Dad: I've got a six-month-old son who doesn't sleep very well. As part of my calming-him-down-in-the-middle-of-the-night routine, I walk around the house rocking him. A few nights ago, I lay down on the couch with him on my chest. He fell asleep and I didn't want to wake him by standing up so I fell asleep, too. Maybe an hour later I was jolted awake by a thump and crying and I realized that my baby had rolled off of me and had landed on the floor. I picked him up right away, and he stopped crying after about 10 minutes. I called our doctor and the advice nurse asked me a bunch of questions and decided that there was no need to come in. That was reassuring and my son is his usual cheerful self. But I still feel like I've failed as a dad for being so careless in the first place. Do you think I've done any permanent damage to my child?


Living with Children: For misbehavior, lower the boom, not a flyswatter

One of the most common of complaints from today's parents is "we've tried everything." They refer, of course, to having tried numerous approaches to various long-standing behavior problems, all with no success. In many cases, the problems in question have worsened, as if they have developed resistance over time to any and all forms of discipline.

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